Montelpulciano d’Abruzzo: Why It’s My Favorite

Several years back, I visited Cafe Vialetto. It’s one of our favorite local restaurants where the owners Ernie and Marcelo welcome you with a complementary glass of their house wine.  My wife and I always feel like we’re a guest visiting their home.  (The food is fabulous, btw.)

I really got to liking their house wine and always order it.  I’m visiting with Ernie in the New Year after his holiday rush for a recorded tasting of the one he serves which is Gran Sasso Edizione Limitata Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Terra Vera. I absolutely love it.

Why is it my favorite?  Let me tell you about it.

The Montelpulciano grape is not the grape used in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  A lot of people confuse them. That’s a Tuscan wine made like most of their wines from Sangiovese. 

The Montepulciano grape can be grown in most of Italy, but its biggest region is Abruzzo located east of Rome. The wine got its DOC in 1968.  For a while in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was the most exported Itslian DOC wine.  As you can assume from the name, it uses a lot of the Montepulciano grape.  A minimum of 85% Montepulciano grapes is required. Wine makers are permitted to use up to 15% Sangiovese.

You can expect these wines to have a deep, dark, rich color.  I have had ones that are a deep purple and ones that are a dark purple cherry color.  The ones I have most enjoyed are low in acidity, taste of oak, earth with an aroma of plum and/or dark berries.  It has a thick, syrupy mouthfeel which I really like.

These wines are considered a good value and aren’t wines you age in your cellar.  You buy them and drink ‘em.

Sofia and I recently tasted Cantina Zaccagnini Montpulciano d’Abruzzo 2017.  I first had it when a family friend gave us a bottle.  I hadn’t heard of it before and recently I am seeing it everywhere.  The one we tasted it was from Trader Joe’s.  Vivino has it on their top 20 wines under $20 with over 50,000 people rating it.

We have also reviewed Bosco Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.  This is another one that’s easy to find in our local grocery stores.

I recommend you get youself one for yourself and give it a try.